The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement: Aiding Intra-African trade towards deeper continental integration
Authors: Dennis Zaire & Tapiwa Victor Warikandwa
Affiliations: Senior Programme Manager, Konrad Adenauer, Namibia – PhD Candidate, School of Law, University of Namibia; Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Namibia
Source: Journal of Corporate and Commercial Law & Practice, Volume 7 Issue 2, 2021, p. 16 – 44
The signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) reflected many years of hard work by the continent’s forefathers who include Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Frantz Fanon of Algeria, but to mention a few. The AfCFTA also depicts the novel work of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), and later the African Union (AU), towards shaping a vision of continental integration, embedded in the vision of the African Economic Community (AEC), a by-product of the Abuja Treaty. Vision 2030 and the long-term continental vision of Agenda 2063: ‘The Africa We Want’ are also designed to contribute towards deeper and successful continental integration. However, by now the excitement over the AfCFTA signing has subsided. For each member state, the reality of being an AfCFTA party has started to sink in. Some member states have expressed concern and fear over problems such as opening their markets and accepting continental competition, allowing free movement of persons and trade across borders. Others find it too expensive to deal with the internal political fallout from their populace’s scepticism regarding the agreement’s effects on jobs (due to increased competition) and livelihoods. This article examines the AfCFTA to determine its impact and related advantages in respect of continental trade policies. It discusses the advantages of the AfCFTA and its potential challenges.